Constipation and role of food

In today’s world, constipation has become a very common problem. Our hectic schedule doesn’t give us much time to see what we’re consuming and most of us end up eating a diet that is deficient in nutrients. Some of us wake up with the same question on most of the mornings as how we get rid of this problem. Is there any solution to it? Yes, it is. If you are interested to know which foods may help you poop smoothly in the morning without giving much pressure, then read further to understand first the real causes of constipation and later this article will also cover simple home remedies and the role of food in making this problem disappear in no time.

The term ‘constipation’ refers to painful bowel movement that is caused due to improper diet, medicinal side effects, hormonal imbalances and metal toxicity. The causes of constipation vary. The condition may simply be due to such as things as dehydration or eating foods with too little fiber.A diet that is high in animal fats, such as meat, cheese, eggs and refined sugar but low in fibre from vegetables, fruits and whole grains is a common cause of constipation. Gut mobility also decreases with age resulting in food and waste taking longer to pass through the intestine.

Reasonable time should be given for passing stool. People staying in crowded flats or having a busy life are prone to this problem. Also, if one makes a habit of holding on and not attending nature’s call in time, in due course, even a full rectum stops sending calls. This leads to development of chronic constipation.

Common causes are:

  • low-fiber diet, particularly diets high in meat, milk, or cheese
  • dehydration
  • lack of exercise
  • delaying the impulse to have a bowel movement
  • travel or other changes in routine
  • certain medications, such as high calcium antacids and pain medications
  • pregnancy
  • underlying medical problems

The following are some underlying medical problems that can bring on constipation:

Foods to Include in The Diet To Manage Constipation:

1. Oatmeal. Oats are loaded with soluble fiber which is a type of fiber that allows more water to remain in the stool. This makes the stool softer and larger and ultimately easier to pass.

2. Probiotics: Imbalance of the gut bacteria is mostly the main cause for constipation. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria which may help to improve gut health and soften stools. Many dairy products contain microorganisms known as probiotics. Foods containing probiotics like homemade yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, cheese or kombucha balance the gut flora and prevent constipation. These foods usually help by producing lactic acid and short-chain fatty acids aiding gut movements, making it easier to pass the stool.

3. Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits are rich in the soluble fiber pectin, especially in the peel. Pectin can accelerate colonic transit time and reduce constipation. In addition, citrus fruits contain a flavanol called naringenin, which may contribute to the positive effects of citrus fruits on constipation. Make sure to include vitamin C rich foods in breakfast to prevent constipation throughout the day.

4. Spinach and Other Leafy Greens: Spinach is high in both fiber and magnesium, both of which help the colon flush things through, and have been shown to relieve constipation. Leafy greens in the form of brussel sprouts and broccoli are not only abundant in soluble fibres but a powerhouse of folate, vitamin C and K. You can have these greens boiled, grilled or steamed in the form of salad, in a stew or even curry to make it tastier and more nutritious.

5. Beans and Legumes

Vegetables are also high in fiber and can help prevent constipation. Pinto beans, legumes, salads, and raw vegetables are all high in fiber, making them great choices for constipation relief and prevention. Fill up on whole grains for fiber. Legumes like soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, navy beans, and kidney beans are excellent sources of fiber.

6. Hot Tea or Coffee

Drinking warm liquids is a great way to get more water into the body and staying hydrated is a powerful natural method for easing constipation. The warmth of tea may also stimulate the digestive system and help to relieve symptoms. Some herbal teas aid digestion and help the stools to pass, relieving occasional constipation. You may try making herbal tea by adding fennel seeds and sip it every day to soothe the gut and prevent.


Isabgol (psyllium husk):

This is one of the best ways to get rid of constipation instantly. if you have been suffering from constipation for more than a day or 2, isabgol is your answer. just mix 1–2 tsp isabgol in a glass of warm milk and consume at bedtime for a week. this will not only relieve constipation, but it will also help in regularizing your bowel movements.


Amla Powder:

Just take a teaspoon of amla powder with water every day before going to bed. Being a natural laxative, it is helpful in relieving constipation

9. Lemon Juice: Take a glass of lukewarm water and add one teaspoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt to it. Drink this every morning on an empty stomach. The cleansing properties of lime and the lubricating properties of salt will help to evacuate the bowels without pain.

10. Water:Increasing water intake and going for regular exercises helps in managing this discomfort.

11. Magnesium and regular exercise: Magnesium can help loosen stools so increase your intake of magnesium rich foods such as spinach, almonds, brazil nuts, raisins and artichokes. Alternatively, you may also take a magnesium supplement but only after consultation.

Regular exercise can help to relieve constipation. However, care should be taken to avoid any strenuous exercise and check with your healthcare provider whether exercise is safe for you or not.

12. Eat dried fruit, prunes and berries: Soak dried fruits in juice or water for a nutritious fruit salad. Apricots, figs, dates and raisins are high in soluble fibre and raisins in magnesium as we have seen. Prunes have a natural laxative effect. You may add some berries too.

Some Ayurvedic remedies:

Ø Regular use of Triphala choorna is a popular home remedy easily available in Ayurvedicstores. 1 tsp with lukewarm water at bedtime is recommended.

Ø Dry ginger powder and senna leaves powder well mixed in equal quantity is another popular home remedy. 5 gm of this powder should be taken along with a cup of lukewarm water before going to bed. This helps in easy passage of stools.


Ø Avoid eating processed or highly refined foods which are high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in fibre.

Ø Limit alcohol and caffeine because they may lead to dehydration if consumed in excess, creating stools that are hard and more difficult to pass.

Ø Switch from white bread, pasta and rice to whole meal or whole grain types.